In recent years, I’ve been participating in a few bicycle rides and triathlons. At one such event I was riding in Fredericksburg, TX with a friend (Jack) on a 100 km bike ride. I was well prepared for this race and was riding pretty fast, about 20-22 mph. About 10 miles into the race it began to rain lightly. I did not know the course, except for the markers and signs along the way, and by now the riders were spaced out and riding mostly in small groups of 2 to 4. Today I was riding faster than my friend Jack, so we’d just decided to split up and I did not see anyone in front of me. I found myself accelerating down a slight hill and reached 36 mph when I noticed one of those yellow road signs detailing curves up ahead. So I stopped pedaling and saw the road turn sharply left about 50 yards ahead. I began to break but quickly realized the rain had coated all surfaces with water and the brakes were not effective. I also saw that the approaching turn ahead was too sharp for me to make at this speed and that there were large stones, some broken up pieces of concrete and a barbed wire fence straight ahead. So I determined that I needed to try to lay the bike down on its side. All this happened in about 2 seconds, so I was still going over 30 mph when I laid the bike down on its left side. But the bike did not slide smoothly, it caught the left pedal hard and bounced up, taking me head first into the concrete road then sliding along the pavement and coming to a stop just into the grass in front of some stones. My bike cleats came unclipped from the pedals, my helmet cracked, and I slid some on by butt, some on my elbows and knees, and impacted my face enough to break my glasses. Nothing was broken on me or the bike, although I had to re-straighten the handle bars and seat. And I was missing some skin and was bleeding, but not badly. Jack caught up to me in about a minute and helped me assess the situation. And we decided the bike was rideable and that he’d ride with me until we could find a bike stop to provide help and/or call a sag wagon. So, first I was slightly shocked by the event, never having been in such a high speed fall on a bike. Then I was feeling I was stupid for going so fast not knowing the course and embarrassed for finding myself in this situation. And finally, I was in some pain from the injuries and wondering how long I could ride before needing to just stop. I found comfort in reminding myself that, in spite of all the negative physical evidence, God was in control. I thought of words from a hymn “O, gentle presence peace and joy and power…”. I was also surprised that we rode 12 more miles before we even came to a water stop. Then, at the water stop there was no first aid of any kind and that this event had not provided a sag wagon (typically a truck or van to help repair bikes or give a fallen rider and his bike a trip to end of race). We got local fireman to clean the wounds and provide bandages for me. And we just decided to complete the ride. We did find a shortcut but still had to ride 36 more miles and finished the race. I was grateful to have Jack with me and we got to our car, changed clothes, got me some ice for injuries, and called a Christian Science Practitioner (a person who is available to provide prayerful support). The prayers were focused on seeing that I (as a child of God) can never fall out of or be absent from God’s loving care. One main disturbance was the typical mental replay of the event that just kept repeating in my consciousness. As a Christian Scientist, I was not claiming that the event never occurred, just that now, going forward, my best course of action is to strive to draw closer to God. And that this ‘adjustment’ in thought brings about an adjustment in the physical conditions. I was sore for a few days, the skin took a couple of weeks to scab and heal, but we rode together 2 weeks later on a 50 mile Saturday ride.
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